The next Gridiron Football Media Day preview is on the Cecilia High School Bulldogs led by head coach Dennis Skains, who is entering his eighth year with the program. Under Skains, the program has flown under the radar as a consistent football program in the talent rich Acadiana area.
“If you ask the kids, I think they would say that the Cecilia style of football is toughness. I wasn’t a very good or talented player growing up so if you had any success on the field, then you were probably pretty tough. That’s how I was raised both personally and as a football player. We play a tough, physical brand of football. These kids enjoyed playing good football teams, and they don’t back down from them. That’s what we are all about.”
“You got to have good players obviously, but you have to have players that are willing to learn. I am blessed to have a very good coaching staff. The one thing that I do well is to make sure to get better coaches than myself, and make sure that they are on staff. It’s kids that are raised in the community, love football, believe in football, and it’s been relatively an easy place to coach. The success comes from a winning culture that started years before I got there.”Cecilia Head Coach Dennis Skains
The last three years, the Bulldogs have won eight games and have made the second round of the playoffs in all three years. During his tenure with the Bulldogs, the team has become consistent winners as he has posted a 47-29 record.
“It’s a great community to coach in. It’s a great community. You will be hard pressed to find a better community to coach in.”
“It took a lot to build what we have. It’s hard to leave something like that. We haven’t reached our final goal and our goal is to win a state championship. We haven’t done that yet even though we have come close. I know we have a window in which we can still accomplish that in the next three to four years. It could be this year or moving forward.”Cecilia Head Coach Dennis Skains
The Bulldogs are trying to win a state championship for the first time since 1995, but they will have to do so without three great players that went on to play in the 2022 Gridiron Football All-American Bowl Game last season in Ridge Collins, Kendrick Alexander, and Germonie Davis.
“The senior class was a huge component. We lost our quarterback in week four to a torn ACL in Diesel Solari, wo we believe is one of the better players in the state. We had to move our senior Germonie, who was our best receiver and put him at quarterback. Just handling that adversity and continuing to succeed, continuing to win showed the kind of resolve that they have and their belief in everything that we are preaching. We are blessed to have a great senior class. I think that we have another great one this year too.”Cecilia Head Coach Dennis Skains
Still, the Bulldogs return plenty of experience with 14 starters coming back including their talented quarterback Diesel Solari, who returns after suffering a torn ACL injury at the start of last year, but also their entire offensive line. Two of the guys that will be protecting the Bulldogs’ dual threat quarterback came to our Gridiron Football Media Day event in Cadon Joe and Hunter Kidder. There was also a representative on the defensive side of the football that also made the hour drive to Denham Springs, and that is CB Jylan Wiltz. Wiltz is the lockdown number one defensive back of the group after having 28 tackles, 5 PBUs, and three interceptions last season. Despite losing a veteran senior class from 2022, the Bulldogs will lean on another veteran class to lead the way in 2023.
“We brought a veteran defensive back with us in Jylan Wiltz. He was a guy that had a really good year as a junior and know is going to have a strong senior season. We also brought two of our big guys on the offensive line in Hunter Kidder and Cadon Joe. Those are two guys that are coming back with some experience under their belt and those are three guys that believe in the process. They put in work in everything that they do. That is the mentality the last senior classes have had. We are blessed again.”Cecilia Head Coach Dennis Skains
That returning experience will be pivotal as the Bulldogs do not face any slouches on their schedule this fall.
“We start out with St. Martinville. That’s always a difficult game. We play Southside the second week and then, we play Northside and Crowley, but then, we have Week 5, it will be Notre Dame, and then, it goes right into district where Breaux Bridge will start us off and Opelousas is in that district. They were like the number one or two seed last year in the playoffs, and we finish with Iowa, who is also one of the top seeds. It’s what our kids want. It is a challenging schedule. It’s a difficult schedule. Anytime that you are starting out with a schedule like that is a challenge, but our kids are looking forward to it.”Cecilia Head Coach Dennis Skains
Being a veteran team and knowing the style of football that the Bulldogs want to play, fans should expect more of the same as the program will try to make a push for a district title and a deep playoff run.
“We are going to have to be unselfish. We have a lot of talent, but you know how it goes sometimes. There is only one football and if you are a skill guy on the offensive side, you may have a great game one game, and the next game, maybe not as much, but as long as we have the team mindset, we should be pretty good.”Cecilia Head Coach Dennis Skains
Before the Bulldogs begin the regular season with a matchup against St. Martinville, the Bulldogs will play at Cajun Field for the Lafayette Kiwanis Jamboree against the Teurlings Catholic Rebels on Friday.
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